News in brief - January 2018
31 Jan 2018



Funding for UK Tier Zero, Computing Insight UK, milestones and achievements



Credit: Dreamstime/ Dmitriy Kiryushchenkov

​UK Tier Zero (UKT0)

The Scientific Computing Department (SCD) has been awarded £3 million of capital funding from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to help maintain the capability of, and where necessary replace, the e-Infrastructure critically needed to underpin STFC Science.

The STFC science programmes and facilities are all data intensive, requiring very-large-capacity computing and data-handling facilities, connected by a high-performance network to other national and global facilities (collectively called the e-Infrastructure).

Many of these activities have been formed into an association known as UKT0 (UK Tier-Zero), helping researchers to work together with the aim of optimising the science benefit and cost effectiveness of their e-Infrastructures through shared use of computing services, expertise and best practice. As part of UKT0, SCD will ensure that the benefit to STFC science is optimised by ensuring it can support and underpin the UKs national facilities – such as the neutron, laser and synchrotron light sources – as well as existing Astronomy, Cosmology, Particle, Nuclear and Astro-particle physics projects. 

UKT0 has also been awarded a grant of £1.5m to support STFC science across both STFC facilities and the STFC PPAN program. The award is being used to develop a federated cloud, which will be shared across STFC's Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Cambridge, Manchester, and Edinburgh Universities.

Computing Insight UK (CIUK) 2017

CIUK2017_1.jpgOrganised by SCD, Computing Insight UK is STFC's annual conference and exhibition for advanced computing and data-intensive science. It was held on 12-13 December 2017 at Manchester Central with the theme of 'Joining up the UK e-Infrastructure.' 

The event included two full days of presentations, talks and panel sessions running alongside an exhibition of the latest technologies from the leading hardware and software developers and resellers, an exhibitor forum and a series of breakout sessions.  It was once again a very successful conference, attracting 250 delegates and 34 industry exhibitors.

The main programme included presentations covering sub-themes such as “Experiences of Joining up e-Infrastructure" and “Experiences of Cloud Computing within the UK and Europe". For the first time we hosted the EMIT (Emerging Technology) conference as one of the breakout sessions, covring a full day of talks and workshops.

Software Reuse, Repurposing and Reproducibility

The first report of the Jisc DataSpring project 'Software Reuse, Repurposing and Reproducibility', led by SCD's Catherine Jones with Ian Gent at the University of St. Andrews,  has been credited as one of the important influences on updates to the DataCite DOI schema to support software citation.  The report builds on the conceptual work carried out by Catherine along with SCD colleagues Brian Matthews and Juan Bicarregui for another project - Significant Properties of Software & the SoftPres.  

Open Access Milestones reached by STFC staff

Open access symbol.pngSTFC demonstrated its commitment to open science by producing a new Open Access Policy for staff, which was approved by Directors at the National Laboratories Operations Board in March 2017. Many STFC authors have made their work open access, publishing full-text Green OA papers in ePubs, the STFC repository, and requesting funds for Gold OA papers from annual grants awarded to STFC from RCUK.

Open Access publishing in STFC is supported and managed by the Chadwick and RAL Libraries. To celebrate recent OAcrown-rubber-duck.jpg milestones in December 2017, the STFC authors of the 50th Green OA paper submitted to us (from UKATC) and the 100th Gold funding acceptance (from SCD) have won a green and gold (crowned) rubber duck respectively, which are now proudly displayed in their departments to show their commitment to open science.


Technology upgrades

SCD is currently using infrastructure funds to upgrade some of its computational systems, including £1.3M for the SCARF High Performance Computing cluster used by the national facilities, including Diamond.

Contact: O'Sullivan, Marion (STFC,RAL,SC)